ESPN Has A New Ombudswoman

Wednesday, March 14, 2007



ESPN has hired an official replacement Ombudsperson for the recently departed George Solomon. From Sports Biz Daily....

ESPN named author and former N.Y. Times sports editor Le Anne Schreiber its new Ombudsman, succeeding the Washington Post’s George Solomon, who held the new position for 21 months. She will begin in early April.
Hmmm. Interesting choice? I know I've heard that name before......where have I heard that name before??? OH THAT'S RIGHT! She helped write a book on ESPN!

Schreiber wrote portions of the book "The Gospel According to ESPN: Saints, Saviors and Sinners". The book wasn't about sports exactly, but it was distributed by ESPN (Hyperion).

Let's visit the definition of Ombudsman shall we? An official appointed by a government or other organization to investigate complaints against people in authority. This position is designed to give those with less power — the “little people” — a voice in the operation of large organizations.

So my question to you is do you think someone who has received a paycheck from ESPN can "give the little people" a voice without being biased?

***UPDATE***- Well I wasn't expecting this, but the answer comes from the source of the post herself....Ms. Schreiber emailed AA.....
The Gospel According to ESPN was not a book about ESPN. It was a sports history book built around analogies between sports and religion. I received a paycheck from Hyperion (owned by DIsney) for the essay I contributed to the book. As far as I know, all ombudsmen are paid. Some companies, like ESPN and the New York Times, hire their ombudsmen as "independent contractors" for a limited time, often two years. Other companies, like the Washington Post, appoint a staff member as their ombudsmen for a much longer tenure.
So there you have it. If her email candor is any indication...this might be a good fit (As long as you believe in the merits of the position to begin with).

She also encourages your comments at ESPN.com.

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 1:33 PM

11 Comments:

Color me "not very f'ing impressed". Wolf guarding the henhouse.

Mar 14, 2007, 1:58:00 PM  

Seconded. More proof that ombudspersons, more often than not, are hired to pay lip service to reader concerns or are ignored. ESPN is just following the major newspapers and broadcast networks on this.

Signal to Noise said...
Mar 14, 2007, 2:05:00 PM  

Also, let's not kid ourselves in the first place. The only reason an Ombudsman exists at espn.com is to fight PR battles that the rest of us (most notably Deadspin, but you get the idea) fight when we call them on their constant self-pimping bullshit. It's a meaningless position, and nobody at ESPN could possibly give two flying craps about what the ombudsman has to say, no matter who it is.

Mar 14, 2007, 2:07:00 PM  

I'd also like to point out that at least 50% of the people who wrote in that book aren't very...alive.

Mar 14, 2007, 2:08:00 PM  

Hahaha....great notice RUTS.

Mar 14, 2007, 2:11:00 PM  

I don't necessarily disagree with your point, but don't most ombudsmen (ombudspeople? ombudspersons?) receive a paycheck from the org they are doing the work for. Does it make a difference if they've previously received a paycheck from said org? They're going to be receiving one from them anyway, right?

TNOTD said...
Mar 14, 2007, 2:27:00 PM  

BTW, I think your site is great. I was just commenting as food for thought.

TNOTD said...
Mar 14, 2007, 2:28:00 PM  

Oh, and HST is the only one I miss.

Mar 14, 2007, 2:29:00 PM  

Hmm great point. I guess the problem lies in the position itself. Are we entirely sure that they always get paid?

I mean Solomon had one post every two months.

Mar 14, 2007, 2:35:00 PM  

I say meh. What do you expect from a network that has an ownership stake in a professional sports league?

Did you think they were gonna bring Olberman back for this?

SteveJeltzFan said...
Mar 14, 2007, 2:49:00 PM  

Will she report fairly on lesbian issues?

LOL.

Anonymous said...
Mar 15, 2007, 8:44:00 AM  

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